Reyes’ Single Lifts Pirates Over Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates' Pablo Reyes, left, leaps in the air as teammate Erik Gonzalez comes to celebrate after Reyes drove in the winning run against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Pittsburgh. The Pirates won 3-2. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH — Pablo Reyes plays baseball with an unabashed joy, something in short supply these days for the Pittsburgh Pirates. For one brief moment Friday night, the 5-foot-8 utility player provided a dash of it for his beleaguered team, capping a ninth-inning rally with a game-ending single to lift the Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Pirates won for just the ninth time in 39 games since the All-Star break by chipping away at Reds closer Raisel Iglesias (2-9). Pittsburgh put together three straight singles to start the ninth, the last a flare to shallow center by Adam Frazier that scored pinch-runner Erik Gonzalez.

A sacrifice bunt by Jacob Stallings moved pinch-running pitcher Joe Musgrove to third and Reyes sent a drive to the gap in left-center to give Pittsburgh its eighth straight home victory over the Reds.

The 25-year-old Reyes — a career .218 hitter — bolted around the edge of the diamond with his teammates in pursuit. Skipping. Leaping. Laughing. For a team in a freefall, it was a welcome reprieve.

“When do you good swings, anything can happen,” Reyes said.

Felipe Vazquez (4-1) picked up the win by pitching a scoreless top of the ninth as the Pirates improved to 5-67 when trailing after eight innings.

“I think this is our ninth win in the second half,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “The vibe, the energy and the effort’s there, but those don’t always translate to wins. They haven’t for us. Tonight, we stay in a game, we keep hunting, and we keep playing. It paid off for us tonight.”

Iglesias recorded just one out while blowing his fourth save attempt in 30 opportunities.

“It looked like Raisel was making good pitches,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “He just did what he needed to do there and the Pirates put it in play. That’s the way the game goes. It’s disappointing, but he’s been there before.

“He’ll bounce back.”

A DOZEN DINGERS FOR AQUINO

Aristides Aquino’s hot start for Cincinnati shows no signs of slowing down. The 24-year-old rookie hit his 12th homer of the month and an RBI double in the eighth while going 3 for 4 to boost his batting average to .338.

Aquino’s drive to the first row of seats in center off Mitch Keller leading off the second gave him a dozen homers in 22 games, the fastest player to reach that total in major league history.

Aquino’s 12 homers since making his 2019 debut on Aug. 1 are two short of the club record for most home runs in a month, trailing the 14 Hall of Famer Frank Robinson hit in August 1962 and Greg Vaughn matched in September 1999. Aquino, however, was more pleased with the double he laced to left off Keone Kela in the eighth that put the Reds in front 2-1.

“I think those are the moments that make a good player a really, really good player,” Aquino said. “That’s one of those moments where it’s a clutch at-bat and I really enjoy those at-bats.”

KELLER CONTRIBUTES

Keller, Pittsburgh’s top pitching prospect, put together the best start of his young career. The 23-year-old struck out nine in six-plus innings. He threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 24 batters he faced and relied heavily on a slider that kept the Reds off balance.

He also received some serious help from Michael Feliz, who entered after the Reds put two runners on to start the seventh and promptly struck out the next three batters to preserve a tie.

“He came out and just peppering fastballs and his slider was devastating,” Keller said. “Three punchouts in a row, you can’t ask for anything more.”

PLAYING NICE

Both teams insisted they were ready to move on from their ugly on-field brawl in Cincinnati last month, one that resulted in eight total suspensions spread among six players as well as both managers.

Bell stressed his club didn’t “have time” to let the feud continue to fester.

For a night anyway, Bell was right. When Keller went up and in to Aquino in the sixth, the 6-foot-4 Cincinnati slugger simply leaned back to get out of the way and play continued without incident.

Cardinals 8, Rockies 3

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jack Flaherty pitched six scoreless innings, Marcell Ozuna homered and drove in three runs, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies.

The Cardinals moved back into first place in the NL Central, one-half game ahead of the Chicago Cubs, who lost to Washington earlier Friday. The Cardinals have won five of six and 11 of 14.

Nationals 9, Cubs 3

CHICAGO (AP) — Anibal Sanchez pitched one-hit ball into the ninth inning and helped himself with two perfectly placed bunts, leading the Washington Nationals to a victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Washington had a short turnaround with an afternoon start after its 7-1 victory at Pittsburgh on Thursday night. The Nationals didn’t arrive in Chicago until early Friday morning, but their loaded lineup looked as if it got more than enough rest.

Brewers 6, Diamondbacks 1

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jordan Lyles was pulled after pitching six no-hit innings and Milwaukee reliever Devin Williams gave up a bloop single with two outs in the seventh as the Brewers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Lyles (8-8) was taken out after throwing 99 pitches. He struck out five and allowed just two walks, both to Christian Walker.

Marlins 19, Phillies 11

MIAMI (AP) — Starlin Castro homered twice and drove in five runs, and the Miami Marlins spotted the Philadelphia Phillies a seven-run lead before rallying to win, their highest-scoring game at Marlins Park.

Isan Diaz hit a three-run homer, Harold Ramirez and Neil Walker each had three hits and drove in two, and John Berti also went deep for the Marlins, who pounded out 19 hits and have won six of their last seven over the Phillies.

Braves 2, Mets 1, 14 innings

NEW YORK (AP) — Billy Hamilton singled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning for his first hit as a Brave, and Atlanta beat the New York Mets for its sixth straight win despite yet another sensational game by Jacob deGrom.

The Mets tied a major league record by striking out 26 batters — including 13 by deGrom — but had their five-game winning streak end.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Indians 4, Royals 1

CLEVELAND (AP) — Brad Hand bounced back from his recent struggles to record his 30th save, Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals.

The All-Star closer, who had blown three consecutive saves, gave up a leadoff single to Alex Gordon in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Cheslor Cuthbert bounced into a double play, extending his hitless streak to 0 for 39, and Bubba Starling grounded out to end the game.

Tigers 9, Twins 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ronny Rodriguez had three hits, including a grand slam, and Drew VerHagen struck out 11 in a career-high six innings as the Detroit Tigers beat the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins.

Rodriguez’s first career grand slam capped a five-run sixth inning off All-Star Jose Berrios. The drive helped the Tigers, with the worst record in the league, cut Minnesota’s lead to 2 1/2 games over Cleveland.

Astros 5, Angels 4

HOUSTON (AP) — Zack Greinke won his fourth straight start since being traded to Houston and Yuli Gurriel hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to send the Astros a victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Greinke (14-4) allowed 10 hits, but just three runs — two earned — in 6 2/3 innings. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner came over in a July 31 trade with Arizona.

White Sox 8, Rangers 3

CHICAGO (AP) — Dylan Cease settled down after a tough start, Yoan Moncada hit a two-run homer for the second straight night and the Chicago White Sox beat the Texas Rangers.

Adam Engel added two RBIs as Chicago won for the fourth time in five games. Tim Anderson and Leury Garcia each had two hits and drove in a run.

Rays 7, Orioles 1

BALTIMORE (AP) — Austin Meadows hit his first career grand slam to cap a seven-run second inning, Trevor Richards shined in his second start with Tampa Bay and the Rays extended their impressive road run by beating the Baltimore Orioles.

Meadows hit a 2-0 pitch from Ty Blach (0-2) deep into the center-field seats to send Tampa Bay to its fourth straight win over Baltimore. The drive was the highlight of an inning in which the Rays got five hits and a pair of walks.

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